Hello everyone! Today’s stop we sit down for a chat with the awesome Mia Kerick and a book that is a bit different… Inclination.
How did you come up with this title?
The working title for Inclination was His Way, as the love interest of the main character, Anthony Del Vecchio, started a youth group at his worship center of this name. I also thought that his way is the way in which these very vulnerable teenagers who are so devoted to God want to live. The problem is, some of them have a bit of trouble figuring out just what God’s way is.
I decided to change the title because I wanted the book to have more mainstream appeal. I believe that some readers automatically dismiss a book where religion is at the center of the conflict because they fear they will not be able to relate to a highly religious character. However, I view this conflict as a primary one, every bit as pertinent to the young adult experience (and human experience) as conflicts with romantic love, physical disability, and social acceptance, which are common topics for YA books. In addition, I wanted a mainstream appeal because it is important that a wide body of readers recognize the emotional challenge LGBT teens endure as they search for how they fit in with God and with organized religion.
When I studied the documents that Anthony was faced with when he did his late night online search for the position of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, as well as what he was confronted with by his youth group, the term inclination popped up a lot. In The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, it says, “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” By definition, inclination means “a person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way”, so I thought that this would be an excellent title for the story. Anthony has the most natural of tendencies to be attracted to males; this is his inclination. It is neither good nor bad, but it is simply the way he feels. And his natural urges, or his inclination, are labeled as a “tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil” and “an objective disorder” by the church he belongs to.
Anthony needs to accept his inclination, and put it in a place where he can deal with it in regard to his relationship with God. This challenge forms the conflict of the novel and is the reason I named the story Inclination.
Is there a lesson you would like readers to gain from this book?
I am not sure I want readers to learn a lesson, oh, okay…I’ll admit it… I DO want readers to learn something… to gain something from having read Inclination. (It is not a crime for a writer to have an agenda!!) My greatest hope is that readers who are enduring the same conflict as Anthony will see that there are different ways to interpret scripture that seems to condemn homosexual behavior. I hope that they will look more critically at Biblical passages relating to this topic and ask themselves what was God’s true intention in these words. I hope that Inclination may open readers’ eyes to what I believe is the ultimate and very simple goal of Christianity, which is love. Many may say I have oversimplified this, but I disagree.
Here is a selection from The Triumph of Nature’s God in my Life by former Catholic Priest and current Deist, Ray Fontaine, Ph.D.
“When asked, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest, the first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” On that occasion, he repeated the ancient golden rule: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.”
On the eve of his death, while expressing his last wishes to his apostles, he said: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. And this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus reduced his revelation of God to one word: love. Humans understand what love is and they know how to love. As Jesus said, with love humans worship God and fulfill his wishes. Love suffices and without it, nothing else matters. How very simple!”
I fully agree with Dr. Fontaine, and in this simplicity there is perfection.
So yes, Inclination has a message, and it is that Christianity is all about love.
How is the weather where you live?
White. Everything is white. And cold. It’s like someone turned on a snowmaking machine over New Hampshire in mid-January and every time I want to go somewhere in my car, he pulls a lever and releases a huge pile of white stuff. There is a major ski area in my town; the people there think the weather is great. I want to visit my mother in Massachusetts; I think the weather is quite inconvenient.
What is your favorite part of winter?
I will admit to occasionally enjoying the “snowed in feeling”, as it forces the pace of life to slow down life for my entire family. So when I have nowhere I need to go, my kids are all home, and as long as the power doesn’t go out, I like a snowy day.
Will there be more of these characters? What are you working on now?
I am not one to plan a series. I write a book, publish it, and see what the reader response is. For example, Us Three was a stand-alone book, until the readers asked me for more. And with the cooperation of Dreamspinner Press, it turned into a series called The One Voice Series. Here Without You is the New Adult Book Two in the series. So, I am honestly not sure if the future holds more Anthony Del Vecchio and David Gandy. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Right now I am very busy. I had a mid-January release of my first YA lesbian romance and first self-published novel, Come To My Window, and I am currently promoting it. I have a mid-February release of Here Without You, the New Adult sequel to YA Us Three. I am also promoting this book, which is being published by Dreamspinner Press. And as you know, I am in the process of promoting Inclination, my work of YA LGBT Christian fiction, which has been published by the Young Adult imprint of an energetic new publisher, CoolDudes Publishing. In addition, I have a novel about a gender fluid boy’s attempts to get another boy to fall in love with him in submission.
As far as writing goes, I have three books on my mind. One is the third book in The One Voice Series, another New Adult novel. I already have a gorgeous cover photo that Dreamspinner Press purchased from the amazing Dan Skinner. The lighting in the photograph is so unique that it has already inspired some aspects of the story, including a title! I have two more YA novels on my mind, as well, one a LGBT heart breaker and one an LGBT comedy.
Book Name: Inclination
Release Date: February 25, 2015
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Christian, Spiritual
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
Pages or Words: 70,000 words
Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans. Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications. After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too.
Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?
You can buy a copy here: https://gumroad.com/l/Inclination1
A little more Inclination:
I’ll pass on the Kool-Aid, thank you
It sounds like a joke, but it’s all true. Every student who volunteers his or her time on a weekly basis at an animal shelter, a hospital, or a home for the elderly receives a free lunch on the last Monday of the month, putting to rest the veracity (got that word on the last SAT practice test I took at my desk in my bedroom the other day) of the old idiom, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And as I spend every Sunday afternoon patting and playing with cats at the Centerton Humane Society, I qualify. If nothing else, it gives Mom a day off from making me lunch.
“It was so disgusting.”
I drop down into my usual seat in the cafeteria beside Laz, my tray with the bowl of free macaroni and cheese, a slice of bread, and milk, sliding onto the lunch table in front of me. “The mac and cheese?” I ask. “Last time I had it the stuff wasn’t too bad.” It’s not one of Mom’s gourmet lunches, but it gets the job done.
“No, Anthony.” Emma Gillis rolls her eyes and swallows her bite of free mac and cheese she earned by reading classics to the elderly on Saturday mornings at the New Horizons Elderly Center. She gulps in a breath and informs me with her usual haughtiness, “I was telling everybody about these two old men I read to last Saturday who think they are some kind of couple. They actually kissed each other.” She fake-gags.
“I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that!”
For my own personal reasons, I gasp, while everybody else snickers.
“Those old dudes must be losing it, as in, they could have Alzheimer’s or something, and they forgot that dudes belong with ladies, not other dudes.” I glance over at Lazarus, who abruptly stops babbling to suck down the first of three cartons of chocolate milk. “But seriously, that’s messed up.” Laz wrinkles his nose in distaste and runs his hands through his shaggy dark hair, before moving on to carton number two.
I’m basically frozen, my hand still hovering over the slice of wheat bread on the corner of my tray, my mouth hanging open. I might even be drooling.
“It’s not their fault, Emma.” Elizabeth-the-devout always takes the case of the underdog. It’s how she’s wired. “They’re just sick in their minds.” She sends Emma a you-ought-to-be-ashamed-of yourself sort of frown. “We, as Catholics, are called to compassion.”
Everyday single day at lunch since freshman year, I’ve sat with the kids from the Our Way youth group. In fact, the other kids in my grade have long referred to our lunch table as “Our Way to Survive Cafeteria Food”, which somewhere along the line got shortened to the “OWSCF Table”, which eventually morphed into “awe-scoff”. I have always felt safe and secure sitting at the awe-scoff table. These are the kids I’ve prayed with three times a week at Our Way, and the ones who I was confirmed with in ninth grade. I’ve collected toys for the poor with these kids—in fact, for three years running we’ve made sure that no child in Wedgewood missed out on having a small stack of Christmas gifts, and that brings about some major bonding. We’ve shared weekends camping in the Maine woods, singing and holding hands and sometimes crying when the Spirit moved us.
This is my safe spot at school, like my tiny room is my alone spot at home.
“If you ask me, all fags deserve to die for going against Christ and everything that’s natural. They should be forced to drink poison Kool-Aid, like those cultists had to do down in Jonestown…’member that?” Is that Rinaldo Vera who just suggested mass murder as the “final solution” to the gay problem?
Sweet, passive Rinaldo—the gentle giant. Um, not so much.
“I saw a TV movie called the Jonestown Massacre.”
“I caught that too…those people were warped.”
The conversation drifts away from the vileness of homosexuality, toward the disturbing personal stories of the few survivors of the Jim Jones Cult Kool-Aid Massacre. But I’ve heard more than enough, in terms of stuff that pertains to me.
Feeling as if I’m going to lose what little lunch I ate, I jump up off my chair and race toward the boys’ room in the hall near the cafeteria.
Maybe there really is no such thing as a free lunch.
You can read my review here: https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/inclination-by-mia-kerick-blog-tour-guest-post-excerpt-review-giveaway/
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, Cool Dudes, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
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